Chief and I were at the same Thanksgiving table and broke bread with a group of other readers of this blog. Two leaned left, two leaned right, all of them had issues with the foreign policy takes on this blog. Specifically, Israel and Ukraine. Simply put they feel the blog staff here are nationalist, isolationist whackos. This could not be further from the truth!
I believe we had a lot we could have learned from the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, but we did not. Other countries do not like to be occupied. Outside of Afghanistan, we have NEVER left a country we have invaded. While keeping troops in Iraq and Afghanistan like we did, we lost numerous additional troops. For zero reason.
We normally go to war/invasion over false pretenses … weapons of mass destruction anyone? How many missiles/bombs/drone strikes have we lobbed at another country in the Middle East simply over “we think they are responsible for such and such attack on one of our bases there”. It makes no sense, in most of these regions we have no reason to be there.
We even enter wars via proxy when we have no real connection to the invaded country. Take for instance Ukraine. They are not a member of NATO or the EU (European Union). They never wanted to join either! So now that they are attacked, we need to step in? Why exactly? Think about this, we are sending our munitions to a country who is not an ally in any way!
(Editor’s Note: Obama, Biden, and Soros did finance and coordinate the overthrow of the government in Ukraine in 2014. In a sense, we started this mess, but Johnnie Does is correct; what business did we have getting involved in the first place?)
Despite my best efforts, I didn’t land any punches with this group.
In the case of Israel, they are technically an ally, but they are surrounded by countries who have been/are hostile towards our foreign policy. Egypt kinda blows hot and cold with us, Jordan as well. Lebanon doesn’t like us. Iran wants our country wiped off the earth and Syria, Yemen, and Oman like our money but could care less about us. Israel, simply put, will not be helping us much in any war we engage in because they know they are on an island geo-politically.
When asked my opinion I gave the following regarding both “conflicts.”
On Israel: We get our navy/ships out of their ASAP and back to their normal positions. We do not need those strike groups in that region, we have NATO allies and troops stationed not far away. To be fair, Israel has stated they don’t want, nor need our help. Regarding the numerous, (yeah check it out) numerous bases in Syria and Iraq, it’s time to pull up stakes and leave. We have a massive airbase in Qatar, another country that in my opinion tolerates us, not really likes us. That should be enough. It’s time to bring our young people back home. Just remember we believe Iran is funding the groups attacking Israel via proxy….
This brings me to my next point.
On Russia/Ukraine: How come it’s ok for US/NATO to provide Ukraine with money, weapons, planes, vehicles, etc. but not ok when Iran does it? On that topic, how much has NATO really given to Ukraine? I read an article stating that the weapons we promised (NATO) will fall short of the goal. Why must we arm them? It seems like NATO really isn’t giving much; Germany gave some helmets, France has sent a few tanks and guns. Seems like the countries sending the most are Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, and Poland. Each of these countries are small (the 3 Baltic states) or share a border with Russia and I would argue should be stockpiling not donating. Why aren’t the other member nations stepping up? If they don’t want to donate from their stock, they could purchase from US and give. If the member nations who are not directly neighboring Russia are giving very little what does that tell you about this alliance? Hate to say it but they are counting on us to bail them all out. I would be ok with donating outdated weaponry such as missiles, bombs, and guns. Tanks, planes, and other toys? No chance. By the way check out how much money the US and other countries have donated that is flat out unaccounted for… think we could be using that to solve the homeless issue a little? Ukraine is corrupt, and has a very weak military, we are simply propping them up. Sucks they got attacked but at some point, we may wish we had those weapons.
Let us address the real reason we are involving ourselves … the military industrial complex. Raytheon, Boeing (yeah, they make war ships too), Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, and others spend millions to lobby congress each year. In return they get billions in defense contracts. Over time we accumulate a stockpile of military products. As such we feel we must use/sell them to other countries. As a result of this stockpiling, some of our leaders–think Bush’s, Clinton’s, Obama, Lindsay Graham, John McCain types feel we must invade or bomb anyone we do not like. As you can see it’s a bi-partisan issue here, or I guess one issue both parties can agree on. Buy me an expensive steak and lobster meal each time I want one, and you will get a blank check for defense spending. Just look at how hard it is to get a slot on the defense committee in either branch of congress. These folks are smart and know where the lobby money hits hardest. As such we have decades of pointless involvement in the Middle East and now Ukraine. While the conflict in Israel has an end or goal, the Ukraine conflict shows no signs of stopping which is exactly what the military industrial complex wants. They want continued war to get extra contracts. Notice how some are sounding the alarm about us running out of vehicles and weapons? Again, why are we in these wars?
How would I fix these? Let’s say I am king for a day. I am calling Israel and saying what is your end game here? How about kill the folks leading Hamas who ordered this brutal attack and demand all hostages released? What they are doing now amounts to borderline genocide. I am sorry but Hamas is a terror group, they don’t wear uniforms, they have no real military. Israel looks like it’s going door to door and blowing up whomever appears to be a terrorist, so I guess all males aged 17-60. This is not a strategy. Kills those responsible, anyone in the direct way/tunnel etc. is collateral damage.
After this I am calling the president of Turkey, Tayyip Erdogan and telling him here is the plan from Israel, and the US is pulling its warships out of the Middle East. I am telling him stop dialoguing with Russia and Iran…. Yeah, he recently started trying to thaw relations with both adversaries of ours. He has always had the ear of Putin, but Turkey has been one of the countries supplying Ukraine fairly heavily with drones and equipment. Turkey has the second largest army in NATO. Speaking of NATO, we cannot lose Turkey, as they control the Black Sea, and are a bridge to the Middle East. By the way check out the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict; Turkey picked Azerbaijan, apparently, we are picking Armenia. Doh!
As far as Ukraine… they aren’t in NATO or the EU, as noted earlier. I would call the president and tell him the stockpile is thinning out and he will need to fill the holes elsewhere. We can send the old things, but the flow is slowing, and he gets no more money! I do not trust this country or any of their “leadership.” They are very corrupt and frankly I don’t think they really care about their people. Ukraine is out gunned and outmanned. It’s time to re-trench. Our goal in NATO is to defend those in the alliance, not those who feel they want to be after being attacked. It’s time to fortify Finland, the Baltic Countries, and Poland, as they directly neighbor Russia. Actions have consequence and Ukraine never wanted to join either group. Russia is being made fun of right now militarily, but those making fun do not understand, Russia can lose 10 million people in this war, Ukraine cannot. Look to history, even when fighting on our side in WW2 Russia has always been a meat grinder militarily.
Final thought: An isolationist policy isn’t what I am advocating. I am saying our days as being the world’s police force are over. If we are being honest and looking at this rationally, Russia will take Ukraine, and maybe Moldova, they won’t go farther that way. Perhaps they also have designs on Georgia and maybe Armenia since Armenia was a former ally of Russia. Outside of that they do not have many options. If they attack a NATO country, it’s on. Then we get involved. Israel, they have proven they can defend themselves; the show of force was dumb. Also, we need to think about our military’s sustainability, not in a “green” way but in a numbers way. No one wants to sign up for the military now. We have been in pointless conflicts for my entire life, I am 37. We continue to send our young people to die and for what exactly? Move our troops back, and bring them home, if things get even more dicey, we can always re-deploy.